It’s Friday and that means the Crimson Crusader has been on the horn taking calls and finding answers for concerned residents in San Benito County. The Red Phone has been busy this week, with a question about water in the streets, a wrong address in our calendar section and why elections ballots are printed in Spanish. Don’t forget, questions are always welcome on the Red Phone, but comments are too. Want to throw in your two cents? Call the Red Phone.

Wading through the water

A caller asked the Red Phone to find out what is forming a pool of water at a busy street corner in Hollister.

“I’m just calling because on the corner of Santa Ana Road and San Felipe at the Ranch Gas, there’s a fire hydrant and it drains and every day there is tons of water right there,” he said. “I know it’s a leak from somewhere, but where is it leaking from? I asked the guy at Ranch Gas and he said, ‘Oh, it’s just the water from the car wash.’ That’s not true. Every morning there is a puddle of water there everyone has to drive through to make a right turn on to San Felipe Road. I’m curious if someone could look at it. There is definitely a leak.”

The city’s Water Utilities division oversees the fire hydrants in Hollister, and the department’s Mark Clifford said they were unaware of any leaks at the corner. He checked into the problem and said the water is draining from a nearby milk ranch and it is the county that would force them to hook into the sewage drainage system. In the future, he said residents can call the pubic works department at 636-4370 if they notice problems, before they call the Red Phone. “We’d be happy to talk to people about their concerns,” he said. “They should call us, not the Red Phone.” Red Phone says call here anyhow and Red Phone will cut through the red tape.

Too many tongues

Another caller voiced her opinion on efforts to help non-English speaking voters at the ballot booths.

“With the LULAC and the elections it’s getting a little ridiculous. As far as I know, the people who are voting are supposed to be speaking English, according to the law as it used to be anyway,” she said. “So why is everything being translated into umpteen different languages. We are paying for this and it is making a mockery out of things. Every country in the world, as far as I know, expects you to speak the language in business and in everything else and here we’re giving into everybody for everything, especially LULAC. LULAC is running our city and running our county and nobody else seems to have a say so in it. I’m getting a little fed up with it. What is the law on speaking English and voting?”

The county’s election office and the Secretary of State Office said translating elections ballots for non-English speakers was part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a federal law aimed at making voting easier for everyone. The number of languages appearing on the ballot comes from population levels established by the U.S. Census. All ballots in San Benito appear in English and Spanish. Other, larger areas, such as Los Angeles for example, print seven different languages on every ballot. And, believe it or not, the United States has no official language.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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